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This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

The house that Chris built: Birkett makes Halloween noise in the 'hood.
Emily Piraino

THU 28
To borrow and alter a rock cliché, if it's live, you're too old. At least, that's been the mantra for those happy-go-ecstasy House kids for years, who now find themselves at the ass end of yet another all-electronic phase of progressive music. Enter New York's Tortured Soul, who keep the House party alive, albeit with organic sounds via live drums, vintage keys, and the Maxwell/D'Angelo-esque voice of singer/drummer Christian Urich. Along with keyboardist Ethan White and bassist Jason Kriveloff, Urich's Neo Disco sound conjures a mix of Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, and the New Deal on Thursday, October 28, at Priceless Inn, 5014 South Price in Tempe. For showtime and ticket prices, call 480-897-1466.

FRI 29
Face paint and crooked teeth: $15 in your local grocery store's "Seasonal" aisle. A pimp polyester jump suit and costume jewelry at the neighborhood Goodwill: $24. Five mini-bottles of assorted spirits to help ward off evil spirits (buried in the breast pocket of said jump suit): $10. Someplace to chill where art meets ghouls and goblins free of charge: Free! Seriously, it's free, at 601 West University in Tempe, on Friday, October 29, for reZurrection Gallery's First Annual Costume Party from 7 to 10 p.m. The gallery promises free refreshments, live music, and a "Day of the Dead" art exhibition. Can't stand not to spend the cash that's burning a hole in your polyester pocket? Visit the gallery store for "silver jewelry, scary masks, and colorful slumped glass martini glasses" all snagged during a "recent buying trip to Mexico." Call 480-377-9080 or see www.rezurrection.com.

SAT 30
Go ahead, sheep. Join the Darth Vaders and Jedis, pirates and wenches for the same lame, nondescript Halloween bash you went to last year. Now that we've called out your lack of adventurism and originality, it's your chance to prove us wrong by road-tripping about an hour and a half east of the Valley on Saturday, October 30, to Miami, Arizona, for Passage Clothing's "Circus at the Dome: A Night of Magic in the Dark." The Halloween Eve affair is set in 1894 in the old mining town at "The Dome," a turn-of-the-century building that first was a cigar lounge way back when and later became a bar during the Prohibition era. At 7 p.m., Passage brings out the flame throwers and a snake charmer -- "Dr. Rev. Strange" -- for a Moroccan-style dinner where you'll chow down with the boys from Tucson band Calexico before joining the circus, in which "everyone gets to be a member . . . tightrope walkers, lion tamer, the Strong Man, the Fly Lady, the Bearded Lady, and so on." Calexico takes the stage at 10 p.m. Admission for the dinner and circus is $50; or $10 just to hear the band. But don't settle on a costume just yet -- attire is announced "upon reservations," by calling 602-423-3069.

SUN 31
So you've got that rented gorilla suit for 24 hours, and hate the thought of not getting your money's worth, right? (After all, once you realize it's rather difficult to get ripped sipping Bud through an ape mask, there goes the novelty of being in costume all night.) Well, have we got a plan for you, especially if you've always wondered what a tranquilizer dart stuck in your ass feels like: Head out to Boo at the Phoenix Zoo on Sunday, October 31, at 455 North Galvin Parkway. So what if the zoo's daytime events from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- including a masquerade parade, "straw bale maze," and "Boovies" (a series of short animated Halloween-oriented flicks) -- are technically meant for the wee ones? It's Halloween, after all -- go bananas. Adult admission is $12; $5 for kids; and $9 for seniors. Call 602-273-1341 or see www.phoenixzoo.org.

Citizen Kane, we know all too well. Citizen Dick? Great mock rock band from Cameron Crowe's ode to all things Seattle/grunge in the 1992 film Singles. But Citizen Cope? Despite the Washington, D.C.-based "multi-talented sonic auteur's" critically acclaimed debut album in 2001, he's just an average Joe Citizen to most. But that's about to change, presumably, with his follow-up, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, which Cope is promoting on tour -- and, most important, here in the Valley, on Monday, November 1, at the Big Fish Pub, 1954 East University in Tempe. Cope's "personal brand of pop poetics" -- for all ages -- begins in earnest at 9 p.m. For ticket prices, call 480-966-5010.

Tired of all the preachy pundits and so-called civic-minded folk out there telling you it's your duty to vote in this most important election of our lifetimes? Bleh. If national security, health care, and the future of America don't exactly knock your socks off -- or, more appropriately, move you to get out the vote on Tuesday, November 2 -- we know what will: cheap booze. Provided you choose one old, gray-haired white man over the other on Election Day, and fashion the "I Voted" sticker to prove it, Nixon's Restaurant, at 2501 East Camelback, will reward you with $1 off all drinks all Election Night long. Watch the early returns on Nixon's TVs scattered around the bar, enjoy happy hour specials from 3 to 6 p.m., reverse happy hour from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m., and drink 'til it don't matter who's prez. (As if it did anyway.) Call 602-852-0900.

By the evening hours of Wednesday, November 3, we probably still won't have a commander in chief, but we can certainly have a few laughs. While the lamestream media's still botching the election results, head on over to Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell, for a sneak preview of the George S. Kaufman/Moss Hart Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy You Can't Take It With You at 8 p.m. To commemorate Hart's 100th birthday (he died in 1961), PT tells the tale of the Sycamore family, "full of sight gags and wacky characters eventually reminding us of some of our most precious values -- family, love and tolerance." The show runs through November 21. For tickets, $25, call 602-254-2151 or see www.phxtheatre.org.

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